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55" Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR Neo QLED TV with Bixby, Alexa & Google Assistant

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Should you decide against wall-hanging, though, the Samsung features a central foot on which to stand. This means you don’t need a surface as wide as the screen itself on which to place it. Plus, there’s space between the support and the bottom of the screen to position a soundbar (and, as we shall see, you might well want to give consideration to a soundbar sooner rather than later). Features Edge definition is stable and assured, while depth of field is never less than persuasive. Sometimes the CGI elements of a film like this can take on a rather artificial cast in the hands of less capable screens, but the QN85A is adaptable enough to make these transitions all-but seamless. The movie’s relentless, rapid motion causes few alarms, either—in fact, on the very rare occasions that the screen can be seen to be working hard to stay in control of on-screen movement, it only serves to emphasise how authoritative the Samsung otherwise is. The Samsung QN85A is a solid TV that looks great from wide angles and gets really bright, thanks to Mini LED inside.

55” QN85A Neo QLED 4K HDR Smart TV (2021) | QE55QN85AATXXU

The QN85A uses an IPS panel, which is your classic double-edged sword. On the plus side, it should make for nice wide viewing angles, but IPS panels tend to be quite reflective too. Overall detail levels are extremely high, which only adds to the lifelike impression of the Samsung’s pictures. Edge definition is generally smooth, and when it’s required there’s a persuasive suggestion of depth of field available, too.

That’s not a bad thing, though—the design of a television isn’t supposed to draw attention to itself. The 55-inch QN85A is a tidy 706 x 1227 x 27mm (hwd), with only a brief silver bezel containing that great big expanse of screen. There is an Intelligent Picture mode, which tries to adjust the screen according to your environment, but we’re not overly enamoured with its approach. If it’s an easy life you’re after, simply turn off the Eco-mode and leave all other picture settings as they are, then you can just decide what degree of motion processing you’re most happy with. The big thing that's new here compared to the Samsung Q80T from last year is the technology driving the panel here, so let's start there?

Samsung uk 55” QN90A Neo QLED 4K HDR Smart TV - Samsung uk

Step down to some Full HD content and the QN85A proves a competent upscaler, even of thoroughly testing content, like the BBC One HD coverage of Wimbledon. Ask more of the QN85A where upscaling is concerned, though, and things take a turn for the worse. The Samsung just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to make real low-spec stuff (like a 720x480 DVD, for example) look anything other than coarse and noisy. The picture quality here (as long as you're not watching content of less than 1920x1080 resolution) is so impressive, it makes the relative weakness of the accompanying sound a moot point. Once the sun's inclination drops in autumn, any light striking side-on causes a rainbow effect on the screen. As the sun continues to drop, the rainbow effect increases until in December it's 100% of the screen.Two full-range drivers at the top of the frame, and another two at the bottom, powered by 60 watts of amplification and designed to offer a degree of synchronicity between on-screen movement and audio placement, looks admirable when written down. In practice, though, the Samsung is a rather boneless listen—it’s not actively unpleasant, and it doesn’t get too shouty at volume, but there’s a bluntness about the sound it makes that’s quite strongly at odds with its images. About the only area where the QN85A doesn’t excel is motion control. The Manchester City-based content is filled with instances of rapid, complex on-screen movement, and when the going gets especially trying, the Samsung can give away how hard it’s working. Some minor edge-shimmer is the most common tell-tale, with ghosting and image-doubling so rare as to be negligible. We’re getting used to what Mini-LED technology can bring to the LCD experience but we’re not blasé about it yet. Give the QN85A the best stuff to work with and it’s capable of deeply impressive results. The system comes pre-loaded with most apps you’ll need, such as iPlayer, YouTube and Google Play Movies & TV, with access to Apple iTunes also now available via a software update (although it wasn't available in time for this review). Naturally, the system is also fitted with Samsung’s SmartThings platform, so you can integrate your TV with your smart home.

What Hi-Fi? Samsung QE55Q85R review | What Hi-Fi?

Detail levels stay high, contrasts stay wide—and while the Samsung’s travails with motion become more readily apparent, it’s still one of the better performers this sort of money can buy. Yes, there’s a softening of the overall image, and some of the nuance and variation previously available from the color palette goes astray, but the QN85A is never less than watchable.

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Samsung has fitted the QN85A with its 4K Neo Quantum processor, which is more than capable of dealing with every HDR standard. But this is Samsung, so there’s no Dolby Vision HDR. With every day that passes, this seems a more wilful, more eccentric and more annoying decision – but Samsung is nothing if not bloodyminded. The Samsung’s IPS panel offers decently wide viewing angles (good) and a little more reflectivity than is absolutely ideal (not quite so good). Take a bit of care with positioning, though—both of the screen and your position relative to it—and picture performance is admirable. As an upscaler of Full HD content, the Samsung handles both films and games confidently. You’ll never be conned into thinking you’re watching native 4K stuff, but equally you’ll never find much to complain about in the way the Samsung fills its enormous pixel-count. There’s a slight drop-off in detail levels, of course, and a slight reduction in the breadth of the colour palette that’s available. But edges stay decently tight, contrasts stay pleasingly wide, and even motion-handling stays properly grippy. You could also argue that the Q85R is a touch less sharp than the Q90R, that it’s missing the super-elite contrast and ultra-fine colour nuance to make those pictures pop as well as the very best, but we’re talking fairly slim margins. In many respects, Samsung has done a decent job with the audio of the Q85R. The speakers produce a good sense of space – bullets zip accurately across a wide soundstage, bones crunch roughly where they should and there’s broadly good tonal balance – but this is not a market-leader for sound quality and you’d be wise to budget for a separate sound system.

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